Veon said it had seen a “good operational performance” in Russia, Pakistan and Ukraine, although currency issues took their toll on the company’s numbers.
The company’s loss attributable to shareholders in Q1 2018 was $109 million, compared with $5 million in the prior year, on revenue down 1.4 per cent to $2.25 billion. On an organic basis, excluding foreign exchange and M&A, revenue increased 3.2 per cent.
It cited a “significant devaluation” of the currencies in Uzbekistan and Pakistan. In addition, earnings were impacted by integration costs for the acquired Euroset retail business.
Veon also said its performance in Algeria and Bangladesh “remains under pressure”, while stating “there is an indication that our turnaround plans for these markets are on track and are likely to show operational improvements towards the back-end of the financial year”.
Revenue in Veon’s biggest market – Russia – increased 2.9 per cent to RUB66.35 billion ($1.1 billion), driven by a 3.7 per cent increase in mobile revenue to RUB54.28 billion. Fixed line revenue, in contrast, decreased by 8.2 per cent to RUB8.87 billion.
The company has also seen some significant events in recent months. Jean-Yves Charlier, who had been CEO for three years, stood down, with Veon seeking a replacement; and the company dropped a tender offer for the shares it does not own in Global Telecom Holding, after approval from the Egyptian authorities was not forthcoming.
It also offloaded its operation in Laos to the country’s government and is set to exit Tajikistan.
Veon’s operating units in Ukraine and Bangladesh picked up 4G spectrum, with the launch of services in these market in Q1 meaning it is now offering LTE in all of its operating countries.
The company ended the opening quarter with 210.5 million mobile subscribers, up 1.8 per cent year-on-year, with growth driven by Pakistan, Bangladesh and Ukraine, against declines in Russia.